On the occasion of my 78th Birthday Anniversary the Phnom Penh Post has kindly
extended me an invitation to send a message to my beloved compatriots and our respected
I would like to send my beloved compatriots my affectionate greetings. My thoughts
are, in particular, with those of our compatriots who have been affected by the severe
flooding which Mother Nature has unleashed on our motherland.
In this regard, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the friendly
foreign countries and international organizations, which have promptly come to our
assistance by providing food, medicines and cash to help our unfortunate compatriots.
I would also like to express my personal gratitude to the Foreign Journalists
Club of Cambodia, which recently donated to me one ton of rice to be distributed
by us to our needy compatriots.
On this my 78th Birthday Anniversary I would like to make an appeal to all my beloved
compatriots to strive for a renewal of high moral standards which are required to
deal with the challenges in the years ahead.
I am saddened by the continuous sexual exploitation of women and children of both
sexes and by child trafficking. I greatly appreciate the measures taken by the Royal
government and would like to encourage all the ministries concerned to increase their
efforts in order to completely eradicate these scourges from our society.
I would also call on all of you to show a better understanding and some compassion
for those of our compatriots that are suffering from the AIDS epidemic. I understand
that 241,000 of our compatriots are infected with this dreadful disease and 5,000
of our compatriots have already died. For a country of 12,000,000 people this is
too high a figure and I would like to urge everyone to work harder and in unison
to fight this disease.
I would like to see the HIV/AIDS prevention and Care Programme increased with
the aim to reduce the HIV transmission rate, through appropriate information, preventive
interventions and the development of support services and initiatives for people
Our country is now in a position to continue its transition. Following the general
election in 1998, our country is experiencing peace and political stability and there
are signs of an economic recovery. The Royal Government has embarked on a series
of social and economic reforms, including the drafting of a new Socio- Economic Development
Plan and National Strategy for Poverty Reduction. It is my earnest hope that the
impact on Cambodia's children, who have suffered so much though no fault of their
own, will not be forgotten when these plans are drafted.
The recent severe flooding which has affected a majority of our compatriots and
will continue to affect us for some years to come through damage to infrastructure,
to crops, schools, clinics, etc... can be prevented if we all pay attention to the
need to respect our environment.
Lastly, I must tell you all, my beloved compatriots, that I suffer greatly every
time I read in our newspapers about what has become known as "mob justice"
or the killing by our people of suspected or alleged criminals. The killing of other
human beings does not form part of our Khmer heritage and is strongly condemned by
our Buddhist precepts.
Suspected or alleged criminals should be arrested by the police, properly treated
and then taken to our tribunals, where our judicial system should deal with them
appropriately. As Father of the Khmer Nation I suffer great pain when I am told that
some of my children have killed other children of mine. I call on our Royal Government
to make every possible effort to put an end to this inhuman practice, which is giving
a very bad image to our country and our Khmer heritage abroad.
On the occasion of my 78th Birthday Anniversary I would like to wish all my beloved
compatriots good health, happiness and prosperity and thank our dear foreign friends
for the assistance they give to our people and country.